More news on the votes of the EU Environment Ministers today.
On Monsanto's controversial MON863 maize - the one where the secret rat study showed multiple problems - there was no qualified majority against its authrisation in the EU but there was a simple majority against (at least 13 ministers voted against it).
Despite this moral victory, because of the EU's labrynthine and anti-democratic procedures, the Commission can still authorise it, which shows how absurd these procedures are! However, there is allowance for the possibility that on sensitive issues, the Commission could avoid going against a simple majority. So in the end it will be a political decision by the Commission.
And there's a big problem about that. It's called Peter Mandelson - Blair's twice discredited former minister who Blair foisted on the EU after Mandelson's corrupt behaviour meant he could no longer stay in a ministerial position in the UK.
Mandelson like Blair is ferociously pro the biotech industry, and although widely detested in Britain, his devious political skills won him the title "the Prince of Darkness".
The UK was the only country which voted for the lifting of ALL the GM bans!
How they voted:
No breakdown by country is given. But on Bt176 only the UK voted in favour!!!
The UK under Blair represents a destructive and poisonous virus within the European body politic. It must be isolated and neutralised.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM EU COMMISSION
Brussels/Luxembourg, 24 June 2005
GMOs: Commission reaction on Council votes on safeguards and GM maize MON863
The Environment Council voted today on a package of proposals from the Commission concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The proposals require the lifting of bans or restrictions (so-called national safeguard clauses) imposed by Austria, France, Germany, Greece and Luxembourg on 8 authorised GM products. The Council voted against all 8 Commission proposals. This is the first time that Council found a qualified majority against a Commission proposal on GMOs...
In a separate proposal involving the authorisation of placing MON863 maize on the European market for import, processing and feed use, the Council did not find the required qualified majority for or against. This case will now go back to the Commission for a final decision...
Background on MON 863
A request to market a genetically modified maize product (line MON863), with resistance to corn rootworm, was submitted by Monsanto to the competent authority of Germany for assessment. The requested uses of the product included import, processing and feed use but not use in food or for cultivation.
The German competent authority concluded that there was no scientific evidence that indicated any risk for human health or the environment for the requested uses. However, other Member States raised and maintained objections in terms of molecular characterisation, allergenicity, toxicity, an inadequate monitoring plan, accidental spillage, presence of an antibiotic resistance marker gene and detectability. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was consulted and delivered its opinion on 16 April 2004 concluding that the MON863 maize was as safe as conventional oilseed rape and unlikely to produce adverse effects.
Consequently, a draft Commission Decision to place the product on the market was presented to the Regulatory Committee for vote on 20 September 2004. However, on 17 September 2004, the German competent authority submitted to the Commission and to the Member States, a re-evaluation of a rat-feeding study included in the original application.
Many Member States expressed concerns in terms of reaching a formal position in the Regulatory Committee meeting, pending an examination of this re-evaluation and consequently, no formal vote took place at this time. Following the meeting, EFSA was requested to evaluate the impact of the conclusions of the re-evaluated rat study on the original risk assessment concluded that it did not put into question its initial opinion on this product.
The Regulatory Committee was re-convened on 29 November 2004. The Committee, acting by qualified majority, did not deliver an opinion. The Commission consequently submitted a draft Proposal to the Council.
EU-FUNDED PR OP ON GM FOODS EXPOSES EFSA BIAS
News has emerged about conflicts of interest in the controversial ENTRANSFOOD project, which has now made way for a successor European Commission-sponsored project, SAFEFOODS.
One of the aims of ENTRANSFOOD has been agreeing safety assessment and communication procedures that will "facilitate market introduction of GMO's in Europe, and therefore bring the European industry in a competitive position."
Disturbingly, a recent report by Friends of the Earth on the work of the GMO Panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) revealed that several members of this key advisory panel have also been part of the ENTRANSFOOD project.
The ENTRANSFOOD project claims it has "brought together representatives from academia, regulatory agencies, food manufacturers, retailers and consumer groups from across Europe." But there has just been one solitary representative of Europe's "consumer groups" involved and there is no consumer representation at all on the key ENTRANSFOOD working group looking at the critical issue of "Safety Testing". There are plenty of experts sympathetic to industry, though - some are employed by the biotech industry
Serving alongside employees of Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta on the food safety Working Party has been Dutch scientist Dr Harry Kuiper. Kuiper is both Chair of the European Food Safety Authority's GMO panel and overall co-ordinator of ENTRANSFOOD. He also coordinates the successor project SAFEFOODS with his colleague Hans Marvin.
If it seems disturbing that the head of the key EU food safety panel on GMOs also coordinates a project which has the aim of facilitating their market introduction, equally worrying is Kuiper's involvement in the attacks on Dr Arpad Pusztai and his GM research. Kuiper has been accused of dragging "Pusztai through the dirt" while avoiding public debate with him.
Although the industry-aligned ENTRANSFOOD project offers little more than a PR gloss on GM foods, the Friends of the Earth report exposes how key statements of the European Food Safety Authority's GMO panel regurgitate almost word for word ENTRANSFOOD's position statements - statements arrived at with the help of employees of GM corporations.